Introduced to the piano by his concert pianist mother, Moscow-born Alexander Braginsky began studying the piano at the age of four. His first teacher, Alexander Goldenweiser, a classmate of Rachmaninoff and Scriabin, introduced Braginsky to the nineteenth-century Romantic tradition. After Goldenweiser’s death, he continued to study with Theodore Gutman, another illustrious representative of the “Golden Age” of Russian piano school.
Alexander Braginsky (Nonvoting Co-Chair) / United States
Offering his audiences a repertoire that extends from Baroque to avant-garde, Braginsky has performed more than 20 world premieres, most of which were commissioned and written for him. Braginsky has performed extensively in the USSR, Israel, England, Belgium, Italy, Germany, Taiwan, People’s Republic of China, Spain, Cuba, France, and the United States. He also appeared on stage in collaboration with the variety of renowned artists including Yefim Bronfman and Oleg Kagan. Alexander Braginsky and his wife, cellist Tanya Remenikova, were the first artists-in-residence appointed by Churchill College, Cambridge, in 1981. A professor on the faculty of the International Music Summer Course in Vienna, Austria from 1995 to 2006, Braginsky regularly gives numerous master classes around the world, including International Keyboard Institute at Mannes College and Beijing International Music Festival.
Braginsky has recorded for DDF, Sound StarTone, and d’Note labels. He has appeared repeatedly on BBC, National Public Radio, RTB-BRT, and other radio stations throughout the world. In 2003 in Vienna he was awarded the Josef Dichler Gold Medal for outstanding achievement. Today, Braginsky teaches at the University of Minnesota School of Music, and he also teaches a select group of international piano
students at Hamline University. Braginsky is the Founding President and the Artistic Director of the Minnesota International Piano-e-Competition.
Russian born Eduard Zilberkant is recognized as one of today's most gifted artists and has an active career as pianist and conductor. Maestro Zilberkant has been received enthusiastically by audiences and press alike throughout Europe, Canada and the United States, performing in such concert halls as The Academy of Music in Philadelphia, Curtis Hall at the Curtis Institute of Music, Artur Rubinstein Hall and Warsaw Philharmonic Hall in Poland, Teatro Sangiorgi in Catania, Sicily, Volgograd Opera House in Russia and Alaska Center for the Performing Arts in Anchorage.
He is a returning guest artist at the International Keyboard Institute and Festival in New York City, and has been a guest artist and conductor at some of the world's most prestigious music festivals which include the Ravello Festival in Italy, the Corfu Festival Ionian Concert Series in Greece, the Manolis Kalomiris International Music Festival in Samos, Greece, the Assisi International Festival and Orazio Frugoni Music Institute in Italy, the Baracasa Festival of Radio France in Montpellier, France, and Bellingham Music Festival in Washington.
This year is Maestro Zilberkant’s 12th season as music director and conductor of the Fairbanks Symphony Orchestra and Arctic Chamber Orchestra. Under his leadership, these orchestras have toured in Alaska, Canada, the continental United States, and Europe.
Maestro Zilberkant is a sought after guest conductor. He has conducted the Czech National Symphony Orchestra in Prague and on tour to Germany, the orchestra of Pomeriggi Musicali di Milano in Italy, the Martinu Chamber Orchestra in the Czech Republic and Germany, the Orchestra of the Teatro Massimo Bellini in Catania, Sicily, the Manhattan Chamber Orchestra in New York City, the Teatro di San Carlo Orchestra, Naples Italy, and the Prague Philharmonic on tour to the Ravello Festival in Italy.
The German newspaper, Schwabisches Tagblatt wrote of his performance of the Dvorak's "New World Symphony", "[Maestro Zilberkant] made an impression for feeling the nuances of the tempo, pauses, and accents...he brought out new colors and romantic feeling with full balance of the sound from the orchestra." After his performance of the Mozart Symphony No. 41 with the Arctic Chamber Orchestra in Anchorage, Alaska, the Anchorage Daily News wrote: "[Maestro Zilberkant] brought admirable intelligence to his reading of the piece...and sculpting the individual lines into a monumental and heroic structure; his weaving of the finale's awesome counterpoint show him to be a musician of significance whom we hope to hear again."
A Fulbright Scholar in Germany, Eduard Zilberkant received a Solisten Diploma from the Freiburg Musik Hochschule. He received the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Temple University in Philadelphia. Maestro Zilberkant is Artist in Residence, and Chair of the Music Department at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
Pianist Sara Davis Buechner is one of the leading keyboard artists of our time. She has been praised on four continents for her “intelligence, integrity and all-encompassing technical prowess” (New York Times), “fascinating and astounding virtuosity” (Philippine Star), and “thoughtful artistry in the full service of music” (Washington Post). “Buechner has no superior” says Japan’s InTunemagazine. Winner of a bouquet of prizes at the world’s great piano competitions -- Reine Elisabeth of Belgium, Leeds, Salzburg, Sydney and Vienna -- she established her early career with the Gold Medal of the 1984 Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition, and a Bronze Medal in the 1986 Tschaikowsky International Piano Competition in Moscow. Now residing in Canada, Ms. Buechner enjoys a vibrant international performance and recording career.
With an active repertoire of over 100 piano concertos ranging from A (Albeníz) to Z (Zimbalist), she has appeared as soloist with the world’s most prominent orchestras in US, Europe and Asia. Ms. Buechner’s numerous recordings have received prominent critical appraisal. Current projects include a multi-CD collection of Bach’s keyboard works in the 1919 edition of Ferruccio Busoni, the complete violin-and-piano music of Joaquín Turina, and the first major recording of piano music by American composer Ray Green.
Ms. Buechner has commissioned new works, and given premières and prominent performances of important new music and film scores by Larry Bell, Dorothy Chang, Stephen Chatman, Pierre Charvet, John Corigliano, Richard Danielpour, Ray Green, Miriam Hyde, Dick Hyman, Henry Martin, Jared Miller, Joaquín Nin-Culmell, David Raksin, Miklós Rózsa, Yukiko Nishimura and Wim Zwaag. She is one of the few pianists to actively perform piano scores to silent movies, including notable restorations Battleship Potemkin and Ben-Hur, performed at the Film Society of Lincoln Center.
Ms. Buechner is a former faculty member of New York University and is currently Associate Professor of Piano at the University of British Columbia. She has presented lectures and masterclasses worldwide, notably at the Juilliard School in New York, the Royal Academy in London, Indiana University, Yong Siu Toh Conservatory in Singapore, National Taiwan Normal University, Senzoku Conservatory in Tokyo and the Kobe-Yamate Gakuen in Osaka, Japan. She has also adjudicated important international piano competitions such as the Concert Artists Guild of New York, Firkušný Competition in Prague, and Asian Chopin Competition in Japan.
One of Germany's most sought-after teachers and musicians, Bernd Goetzke studied with Prof. Karl-Heinz Kämmerling at the Hanover University of Music and Drama from the age of 13. Another important phase in his development was his long association with Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, who regarded him as his last pupil. He also participated in Beethoven courses given by Wilhelm Kempff and Claudio Arrau, and was awarded prizes at several international competitions, among them in Paris, Milan, Epinal, Athens and Brussels. At the age of 25 he was appointed Lecturer at the Hanover University of Music and Drama, where he became Professor in 1982.
He teaches a class of young pianists from all over the world, many of whom have won prizes at international competitions, and holds master classes in Germany and throughout the world. Bernd Goetzke has served as a jury member in many international competitions, including Moscow, Munich, Bolzano, Orléans, Oslo, London, St. Petersburg, Kharkov, Kiev, Salt Lake City, Shenzhen, Shanghai and Warsaw. Since 2000, he has been Director of an institute for gifted children, which he founded and which is attached to the Hanover University of Music and Drama and is the only one of its kind in Germany. His concert repertoire includes works by Bach, Scarlatti, Haydn, Beethoven, Schumann and Debussy, as well as twentieth century music.
Ralf Gothóni has a worldwide career as pianist, chamber musician, conductor, composer and pedagogue. He became well-known for his unconventional way of music-making, and about of the wholeness of his musicianship. His tight concert schedule have included major festivals (Berlin, Edinburgh, Salzburg, La Roque de Antheron, Prades, Prague, The Proms, Ravinia, Seoul etc.), orchestras (Bayerischer Rundfunk, Berlin and Warsaw philharmonics, Detroit, Chicago and Toronto Symphonies etc.) and recording studios (c. 100 recordings for international labels).
Gothóni appears regularly both as a soloist and conductor, conducting often from the keyboard. He has premiered more than a dozen piano concertos (Tavener, Sallinen, Rautavaara, Curtis-Smith, Glick etc) and as a conductor he worked a.o. as the principal conductor of the English Chamber Orchestra in 2001-2009 and as the musical director of Northwest Chamber Orchestra in Seattle 2000-2006. Since 2004 he is the guest conductor of Deutsche Kammerakademie. As chamber musician he performs regularly at the important festivals.
Very close to Gothónis heart is the contact with young musicians; his has been professor for chamber music in Berlin, Hamburg, Helsinki, London, Detmold, Madrid and at the moment in Karlsruhe, Germany. He also gives master classes worldwide and is invited as juror at the major piano competitions.
In the 80's, during Gothóni's artistic directorship, the Savonlinna Opera Festival expanded to its format of today. In the 90-ties he was the initiator and artistic director of "The Forbidden City Music Festival" in Beijing and since 2004 he has directed "The Musical Bridge" between Egypt and Finland in Cairo. He has also been successful as a writer of two books with essays about musical phenomenology.
Mr Gothóni has been honored with many awards, including the American Gilmore Artist Award in 1994, which is one of the biggest awards in classical music, the Schubert Medal of the Austrian Cultural Ministry and in 2012 he was awarded by Queen Sofia of Spain for his artistic and pedagogical work.
In 2005, Vladimir Ovchinnikov received Russia’s highest award and honor for musicians: the title National Artist of Russia, awarded by Russian president, Vladimir Putin. The only pianist ever to win the top prizes at both the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow (1982) and the Leeds International Piano Competition (1987), Mr. Ovchinnikov is also a laureate of the Concours International de Montréal (1980). It was his success in Leeds that established his international career, beginning with a triumphant debut performance in London in the presence of Her Majesty the Queen.
Vladimir Ovchinnikov / Russia
Mr. Ovchinnikov’s concerto appearances include the Chicago Symphony, Flint Symphony, Montreal Symphony, Princeton Symphony, all the major London orchestras, Bournemouth Symphony, Hague Residentie Orkest, Hallé Orchestra (Manchester), Leipzig Gewandhaus, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, and the Zurich Tonhalle, among others. He appears frequently with such leading Russian orchestras as the Moscow Philharmonic, St. Petersburg Philharmonic, and the Russian State Symphony Orchestra, with whom he has toured France, the Netherlands and North and South America.
Vladimir Ovchinnikov has collaborated with many renowned conductors, among them Vladimir Ashkenazy, Matthias Bamert, James Conlon, Alexander Dmitriev, Vladimir Fedoseyev, Valery Gergiev, Mariss Jansons, Neeme Järvi, Yakov Kreizberg, Libor Pesek, Valery Poliansky, Gennadi Rozhdestvensky, Thomas Sanderling, Maxim Shostakovich, Stanislaw Skrowaczewski and Sir Georg Solti. Festival appearances include Aldeburgh, Cheltenham, Edinburgh, Schleswig-Holstein, Singapore, Hollywood Bowl and Van Cliburn (Fort Worth). He has also appeared in many of the world’s most prestigious venues: Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Royal Albert Hall, Royal Festival Hall, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Vienna Musikverein, Théâtre de Champs-Elysées in Paris, Suntory Hall in Tokyo, the Great Hall of Moscow’s State Conservatory, and the Great Hall of the St. Petersburg Philharmonic.
Among Mr. Ovchinnikov’s recordings are compilations of Liszt, Prokofiev and Rachmaninov for EMI Classics; Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition and the Shostakovich First Piano Concerto (with Maxim Shostakovich) for Collins Classics; and Rachmaninov’s Etudes-Tableaux Op. 33 and 39 for Olympia.
A graduate of the Moscow Conservatory where he studied with Alexey Nasedkin, Vladimir Ovchinnikov is resident professor of piano at the Moscow Conservatory and guest professor of piano at Sakuyo University in Japan.
John Perry, distinguished artist and teacher, earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the Eastman School of Music where he was a student of Cecile Genhart. During those summers, he worked with the eminent Frank Mannheimer. Recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship, he continued studies in Europe for four years where he worked with Wladyslav Kedra, Polish concert artist and professor at the Akademie für Musik in Vienna, and Carlo Zecchi, renowned conductor, pianist, and head of the piano department at the Santa Cecilia Academy of Music in Rome.
Mr. Perry has won numerous awards including the highest prizes in both the Busoni and Viotti international piano competitions in Italy and special honors at the Marguerite Long International Competition in Paris. Since then he has performed extensively throughout Europe and North America to great critical acclaim. Also a respected chamber musician, Mr. Perry has collaborated with some of the finest instrumentalists in the world.
He also enjoys an international reputation as a teacher, presenting master classes throughout the world. He often is a jury member at some of the most prestigious international piano competitions. His students have been prize winners in most major competitions and include two first-prize winners in the Rubinstein, four first-prize winners in the Music Teacher's National Association national competition, and first-prize winners in the Naumburg National Chopin competition, the Cleveland Competition, Beethoven Foundation competition, the Federated Music Clubs, and the YKA, AMSC, and YMF competitions, and finalists in the Chopin International in Warsaw, the Van Cliburn, the Queen Elisabeth, Leeds, Dublin, Busoni, Viotti and the Three Rivers competitions.
Mr. Perry is professor at the Glenn Gould School of the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, professor of piano at California State University Northridge in Los Angeles, visiting artist faculty at Boston University, and Professor Emeritus of the USC Thornton School of Music. In addition, he recently founded a music school, Southern California Music Institute in Los Angeles, where he serves as Artistic Director. During the summer he is artist professor at the Lake Como International Piano Academy, the Banff Center in Alberta, Canada, the Sarasota Music Festival in Florida, the Orford Music Festival in Quebec, the Morningside Music Bridge Program in Calgary, Alberta, the Internationaler Klaviersommer Cochem, Germany, the International Music Festival in Perugia, Italy, the Amalfi Coast Music Festival in Italy, Montecito International Music Festival in Santa Barbara, and the Southern California Music Institute Summer Festival in California. In January he is main guest artist at the Sydney Piano Festival in Australia.
His recordings are available on the Telefunken, Musical Heritage Society, CBC, ACA and Fox labels. His recordings are available on the Telefunken, Musical Heritage Society, CBC, ACA and Fox labels.
An outstanding international musician of our time, Vietnamese pianist Dang Thai Son was propelled to the forefront of the musical world in October 1980, when he was awarded the First Prize and Gold Medal at the Xth International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw. It was also the first time that a top international competition was won by an Asian pianist.
He began piano studies with his mother in Hanoi. Discovered by the Russian pianist Isaac Katz, who was on visit in Vietnam in 1974, he pursued his advanced training at the Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Russia with Vladimir Natanson and Dmitry Bashkirov.
Since winning the Chopin Competition, his international career has taken him to over forty countries, into such world renowned halls as LincolnCenter (New York), Barbican Center (London), Salle Pleyel (Paris), Herculessaal (Munich), Musikverein (Vienna), Concertgebouw (Amsterdam), Opera House (Sydney), and Suntory Hall (Tokyo).
He has played with numerous world-class orchestras such as St-Petersburg Philharmonic, Orchestre Symphonique de Montreal, BBC Philharmonic, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, Czech Philharmonic, Dresden Philharmonic, Staatskapelle Berlin, Baden-Baden Symphony Orchestra, Oslo Philharmonic, Warsaw National Philharmonic, Prague Symphony, NHK Symphony, New Japan Philharmonic, Helsinki Philharmonic, Sydney Symphony, Hungarian State Symphony, Moscow Philharmonic, Russian National Symphony, as well as Virtuosi of Moscow, Sinfonia Varsovia, Vienna Chamber, Zurich Chamber, Royal Swedish Chamber Orchestras, and the Ensemble Orchestral de Paris. Also, he has appeared under the direction of Sir Neville Marriner, Pinchas Zukerman, Mariss Jansons, Pavvo Jarvi , Ivan Fisher, Frans Bruggen, Vladimir Spivakov, Dimitri Kitaenko, James Loughram, Jiri Belohlavek, Hiroyuki Iwaki, Ken-Ichiro Kobayashi, Pavel Kogan, Jerzy Maksymiuk, Sakari Oramo, and John Nelson.
In the field of chamber music, he has performed with the Berlin Philharmonic Octet, the Smetana String Quartet, Barry Tuckwell, Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi, Pinchas Zukerman, Boris Belkin, Joseph Suk, and Alexander Rudin, and he has played duo-piano with Andrei Gavrilov.
Other career highlights include a New Year's Day concert (1995) with Yo Yo Ma, Seiji Ozawa, Kathleen Battle, and the late Mstislav Rostropovich, in a major international event produced by the Japanese Broadcasting Corporation NHK; in January 1999, a Gala-concert opening the Chopin year, where he was the only foreign artist invited to appear as soloist with the Warsaw National Opera Theatre Orchestra; concerts in Isaac Stern's last festival in Miyazaki, Japan in 2001, which included three performances with Pinchas Zukerman; a special performance in 2005 as the only guest artist at the Opening Gala Concert of the XVth International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw, where he was also a member of the jury; and on Chopin's 200th Birthday, March 1st, 2010, he played at the Gala Concert the Concerto in f-minor with the Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century under the direction of Frans Bruggen at the Warsaw National Opera Theatre.
Dang Thai Son is frequently invited to give master classes around the world - such as the special class in Berlin in October, 1999, where he taught alongside Murray Perahia and Vladimir Ashkenazy, who extended the invitation. Since 1987, he has been a visiting professor at the Kunitachi Music College (Tokyo), and currently, he teaches at the Universite de Montreal (Canada). He has sat on the juries of such prestigious competitions as the International Chopin Piano Competition (Warsaw), Cleveland (USA), Clara Haskil (Switzerland), Artur Rubinstein (Tel-Aviv), Hamamatsu (Japan), Rachmaninoff (Russia), Piano Masters of Monte Carlo, Sviatoslav Richter (Moscow), C. Bechstein (Germany), and Villa-Lobos (Brazil), Vladimir Viardo (Dallas), and Jeunesses Musicales International Piano Competition (Montreal.)
Dang Thai Son has recorded for Deutsche Grammophone, Melodya, Polskie Nagrania, CBS Sony, Analekta, Victor JVC, and the Fryderyk Chopin Institute.
Mr. Dang's latest recordings of "Selection of Nocturnes" with the Chopin National Institute in Poland, recorded on a 1849 Erard piano and a Steinway piano are available worldwide.
Professor Eleanor Wong pursued her musical studies at the Royal Academy of Music in London, England, on an Associated Board Scholarship with Frederic Jackson and Max Pirani. Besides winning numerous prizes and awards, Wong was one of the few students who graduated with both the Graduate Diploma (G.R.S.M.), and the Recital Diploma as well as top honours: the Walter Macfarren Gold medal and Majorie Whyte Memorial Award for the most outstanding students. As a Boise Scholar, Ms. Wong studied in Paris with Vlado Perlemuter and later in New York with Artur Balsam.
Winner of silver medal at the Viotti International Competition Italy, Professor Wong broadcasted on RTHK, WNYC (New York), BBC (UK), and overseas services. She has also given recitals extensively in the United Kingdom (including the Wigmore Hall and Purcell Room in London), China, and the United States. Professor Wong is also recognized as one of the foremost piano pedagogues with many of her pupils winning top prizes in international and local piano competitions. Being one of the most sought-after teachers, she frequently hosted lectures and workshops on Piano Pedagogy and has given master-classes in China, Poland, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Uruguay and USA. Professor Wong is also a frequent juror for various international piano competitions and festivals.
Presently, Professor Wong is an Artist in Residence and Senior Lecturer at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. She is also a visiting professor at the Shenzhen School of Arts and Wu Han Music Conservatory, and is also an honorary professor of the Tian Jin Music Conservatory. She’s also a Steinway Artist, Co-Director of the Hong Kong Summer Music, and the Chairperson of the Piano Teachers' Association in Hong Kong. In 2008, Professor Wong was elected as one of the “Outstanding Leaders” Singtao Daily, Hong Kong for her contributions to the musical world.